Other Risks to Avoid

Be aware of what else to avoid during pregnancy.

The following is a guide of other risks thought to affect conception, pregnancy and lactation.

Vitamen A

Excessive levels of vitamin A are associated with birth defects including cleft palate and heart malformation. Do not take a vitamin A supplement during pregnancy and if you are taking a multi-vitamin, check that it does not contain vitamin A. Also, avoid cod liver oil supplements as they contain Vitamin A.

Skin Preparations

Avoid anti-ageing creams/acne treatments containing retinol, a form of vitamin A. Excess vitamin A has been linked to birth defects.

Medical Drugs

The following list of drugs and medicines are thought to be high-risk:

  • Lithium
  • Carbimazole
  • Thyroxine
  • Warfarin and other anti-coagulants
  • Metformin
  • Vaccines for measles, rubella and yellow fever
  • Phenytoin
  • Tetracyclines
  • Chloroquin
  • Roaccutane, tetracycline, minocycline
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • Radiation from x-rays


X-rays should be avoided, including dental x-rays, as they can damage the foetus.


Exposure to lead when you are pregnant may cause brain damage or affect the nerve development of your baby. Lead is also thought to affect your baby’s intellectual development and cause behavioural problems and illnesses in children. It is also linked to miscarriage, premature delivery and low birthweight and stillbirth.
Sources of lead include petrol fumes, lead-based paint and busy highways.


High stress levels have been linked to difficulties conceiving, hormonal imbalance and miscarriage. Stress is also known to stall the progression of labour by inhibiting the release of oxytocin. If left untreated, it can manifest as physical, emotional and mental conditions. It is thought to be the largest cause of illness in western society.

Natural Therapies

Aloe Vera Drinks

Recent studies have found aloe vera drinks may be associated with miscarriage.

Aromatherapy Essential Oils

Some essential oils used in aromatherapy treatment have the ability to bring on menstrual bleeding and therefore are considered unsafe during pregnancy. Research indicates that neroli (orange blossom flower) and mandarin are the two oils most beneficial and safe to use throughout pregnancy. Lavender is considered safe for use after the first trimester.

Hair Products and Other Cosmetics

Hair colourants and cosmetics generally contain chemicals. Naturopaths believe that ideally it is better to avoid applying anything that is synthetic to the body or hair during pregnancy. Medical professionals however generally do not cite these products as being of grave danger. It comes down to a matter of choice.

Antiperspirants and Deodorants

Many women become concerned about the use of antiperspirants and deodorants during pregnancy. Naturopaths believe that while it is important to consider this during pregnancy, it should be something that women become aware of at all times.
Naturopaths believe it is crucial to use aluminium-free deodorants. They also believe that ‘antiperspirants’ are harmful to the body as they are designed to prevent a natural process of perspiration by chemically blocking pores, as the name suggests.
There is also growing thought that antiperspirant preparations may be a cause of the rising incidence of breast cancer in the western world.
As an alternative, there are many aluminium-free deodorants available that are fragranced naturally.
Many women favour the ‘rock crystal’ now available in many health shops. The crystal works by neutralising the bacteria that causes body odour and is simply applied by wetting it and applying it to the underarm area. Always read labels first.